Bringing Military Conduct out of the Shadow of Law: Towards a Holistic Understanding of Rules of Engagement
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Military Ethics. 2018, 17 (1), 21-35. 10.1080/15027570.2018.1503217
In this article, I outline a holistic approach to the military concept of “Rules of Engagement” (ROE), which complements the legal aspects of ROE with considerations of operational and political requirements for the use of military force. Drawing upon two illustrative cases from the US military experience with the use of ROE, I demonstrate that ROE for any particular military operation should be formulated to balance optimally, if not harmonize fully, the legal, operational and political concerns related to the use of force. In this task, political decision-makers and military practitioners alike are confronted with unavoidable and real-life dilemmas. How these dilemmas are handled has significant implications for how legal requirements concerning accountability and concerns for civilian lives in military combat can be preserved through ROE.